Bill Kramer Taking Movie Academy Reins Today; Christine Simmons Exits – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Christine Simmons is out as COO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as new CEO Bill Kramer takes the Oscar org’s reins today — weeks ahead of his scheduled start date.

Simmons’ departure is effective immediately, but no successor has been named. The Academy unveiled her exit in an email this morning and offered the usual best wishes for her as-yet-unspecified future. Simmons “is no longer with the Academy,” the email read in part.

Kramer is taking up his new chief exec post today — Day 1 of AMPAS’ new fiscal year — rather than the July 18 date that was set when the move was announced on June 7. He replaces Dawn Hudson, who is exiting her post after an 11-year run.

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Kramer, who’s also director and president of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, had made it clear while interviewing for the CEO post that he expected to have a free hand in naming or retaining key staff members, according to people briefed on the situation. Although he had been expected to take charge on July 18, the approaching onset of a new awards season created pressure to make any changes quickly.

Simmons, who had overseen much of the Academy’s internal administration, was among a small group who shared responsibility for this year’s show and would soon have faced key decisions about next year’s 95th annual Academy Awards.

Simmons joined the Academy as Chief Operating Officer in late 2018 after a quiet but extensive search, having been President and COO of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. AMPAS hadn’t had a COO since Ric Robertson resigned in 2013.

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Thursday marked the final day of the Academy’s fiscal year, for which results aren’t likely to be made public until five or six months from now. A year earlier, the group saw its awards revenue fall as ABC cut its fee for the domestic Oscars broadcast. The decline was offset by strong investment income that year, and staff cuts were generally avoided.

News of the AMPAS exec shuffle comes just as Hollywood and the country prepare for the long Independence Day weekend.

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